President Barack Obama spent the weekend making the case for increased U.S. and NATO involvement in Europe to counter Russian actions related to persisting tension in eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, says the moves are yet another indicator that the U.S. is working to initiate worldwide war.
Writing in the Financial Times, Obama opined: “This may be the most important moment for our transatlantic alliance since the end of the cold war. Terrorist attacks inspired or directed by Isis have slaughtered innocents in NATO countries, from Orlando to Paris to Brussels to Istanbul. Conflicts from Africa to Syria to Afghanistan have sent waves of migrants seeking refuge in Europe. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. The vote in the UK to leave the EU raises significant questions about the future of European integration.”
In other words, the Obama administration is using uncertainty over the British exit from the European Union combined with the migrant and terror crises it created through destabilization in the Middle East as an excuse to poke the bear.
The process of reigniting Cold War tensions has been ongoing since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the current White House’s “Russian reset” in 2009.
Beyond meddling in Russian affairs in Eastern Europe, the U.S. irritated Russian relations with the construction of an anti-ballistic missile system in the region. U.S. officials maintain the system was intended only to counter nuclear threats coming from Iran and other “rogue states.” Putin, meanwhile, contends that the Iran nuclear deal is evidence that American officials have other ideas in mind.
And Obama’s current NATO maneuvers certainly aren’t doing much to temper his fears.
In a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, the U.S. president promised: “Poland will be seeing an increase in NATO and American personnel and in the most modern military equipment.”
Putin isn’t the only one who sees the U.S. and NATO actions as problematic.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently told media that the actions look more like “saber-rattling and warmongering” than assurance measures, as NATO has officially dubbed its moves in Eastern Europe.
“Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken,” he said of NATO war games currently bringing the largest number of troops from member states, including the U.S., to the region since the Cold War.
Western media is paying little attention to those actions.
Hardly a month goes by, meanwhile, without Western outlets providing sensational reports of Russian jets flying “dangerously close” to U.S. warships in Eastern European waters.
Last month, Putin told journalists that they’re unwittingly playing a vital role in a dangerous game.
“We know year by year what’s going to happen, and they know that we know. It’s only you that they tell tall tales to [you]. And you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries,” he said.
“You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger – this is what worries me,” Putin continued. “How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.”
With the building tensions between the U.S. and Russia, expect to see Clinton lean heavily on her “experience” as the nation’s top diplomat in an effort to sell herself as the sensible choice to voters. But based on the current relationship, which she was instrumental in helping to deteriorate, don’t expect her to ease tensions if elected.
In fact, reports emerged earlier this month that Putin told his top military advisors that believes war is imminent if Clinton is elected.
“If it’s Hillary Clinton, it’s war,” Putin reportedly said.
And he probably knows what he’s talking about. After all, the Russian president certainly by now has had the chance to read through plenty of her classified State Department emails.